Project Peregrine Contextual Design
At the University of Michigan School of Information, I worked on a team project for SI 682: Interface and Interaction Design called Project Peregrine. We choose to develop and create a prototype for a mobile social walking system through interest matching for submission in the CHI 2010 Interaction Design Student Competition, using the Contextual Design methodology. I worked with my team in developing an original concept, and in implementing Contextual Design through user testing and iterative design. Throughout the process, I cataloged and wrote-up our finding, research, recommendations and newest deliverables at our public website, so that not only were our results available, but our methodology and findings would be available as well, for a consistent in-progress snapshot of our work. The project culminated in an usability tested high-fidelity prototype, publicly available for both common web browsers and iPhone.
After the project and course was finished, I copywrote and submitted a short paper for the CHI 2010 Interaction Design Student Competition, and copywrote and co-designed a poster and text summary for the SI expoSItion 2010 Student Competition. Although we did not place in CHI 2010, we were awarded 2nd Place in the Social Computing Category at expoSItion.
I learned an enormous amount throughout this project- the Contextual Design process, team building, presentation work, and project management. I participated a great deal in the conceptualization, analysis, presentation and defense of the project, and throughout it, I was able to firsthand see the importance and power of user-centered design practices in the creation of a product. Our concept and execution used exclusively tried-and-true technology, yet by taking a unique approach to serving the needs of users in a unique way, we were able to create a powerful and potentially beneficial concept and project plan. Our final product was deeply influenced by our research and feedback, which took us in many fascinating directions that, without a user-centered approach, we would have been unable to conceive. This project cemented my interest in usability and user-centered approach to development and design, and gave me confidence in my career choices.